Police Car Free Times

A tornado touched down in Lexington and Irmo during strong storms April 15, according to the National Weather Service. Trees were snapped and uprooted in its path, which carved a 0.4-mile path beginning on Saddlebrooke Drive in Lexington and a 1.4-mile path beginning near Saluda Shoals Park in Irmo, where the storm’s peak winds were estimated to be 95 mph. The wind and rain were widespread across the Midlands, too: “At the height of the storm, just after 2 p.m., 74 mph winds were reported at Columbia Metropolitan Airport,” The State reported. — Eva Moore

Woman Arrested After Attempting Exorcism

Columbia police arrested a woman after she reportedly held another woman against her will and attempted to perform an exorcism on her. Police arrested 28-year-old Brittany Jones and charged her with assault and kidnapping. The cops say that Jones held a 56-year-old woman against her will for an extended period of time at a home on Lorick Circle, and that she “assaulted the victim in the upper and lower body with a cross” because she though the victim was “possessed.” Police say they also have a warrant out for Jones’ sister in the case. — Chris Trainor

Bishopville Prison Violence Kills 7

Seven prisoners are dead and 17 wounded after a series of attacks and rioting at the Lee Correctional Facility in Bishopville. According to The Post and Courier, the episode “is believed to be the deadliest episode of prison violence in South Carolina in recent history.” The violence broke out April 15 and continued until early April 16. No guards were injured. — Eva Moore

State Takes Over Rural School District

The South Carolina Department of Education has taken over 12 schools in rural Williamsburg County. State Superintendent Molly Spearman notes the district had fiscal and academic issues. According to The Post and Courier, the Williamsburg school board and superintendent have been fired, and principals could also be dismissed. SLED is investigating finances in the district. The state took over schools in Allendale County last year. — Chris Trainor

House Kills Solar Bill on Rules Technicality

Pro-utility state lawmakers effectively killed a pro-solar energy bill by forcing a two-thirds vote on the matter, rather than a simple majority, according to The Post and Courier. The bill in question, which had received a favorable preliminary vote, would have done away with an upcoming limit on rooftop solar power. The vote was 61-44 in favor of the solar measure, but it needed 82 votes in favor for a two-thirds majority. State Rep. Peter McCoy, a Republican, said the solar bill was needed because people no longer trust the utilities following the V.C. Summer debacle. “They have deceived, they have lied, they are not credible to the ratepayers of South Carolina,” McCoy said. “But they are showing the people of South Carolina that they run this state. ... Why are we going to continue to reward them?” — Chris Trainor

Scarborough Thinks Haley Would Beat Trump in 2020

Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman and the host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, thinks former South Carolina governor and current U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley could beat President Donald Trump in a primary in 2020. “I actually think if she ran in 2020 — and this is not me making trouble, it’s really not — I think if she ran in 2020 she would have a very good chance of being the first woman president of the United States,” Scarborough says. — Chris Trainor

Sanctuary Cities Bill Gives McMaster a Campaign Talking Point

The state Senate resurrected and then passed a bill aimed at preventing sanctuary cities in South Carolina. They did so by inserting the bill’s language into the state budget. Gov. Henry McMaster has heavily promoted the bill, which would require municipalities to report immigration information to SLED. There are no sanctuary cities in South Carolina. Opponents, including several outspoken Republicans, have criticized the bill as unnecessary political grandstanding to benefit McMaster. — Eva Moore

Wilson Is No. 1 WNBA Draft Pick

A’ja Wilson was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, making her the third Gamecock ever to be drafted No. 1, following football players George Rogers (1981) and Jadeveon Clowney (2014). She’ll play for the Las Vegas Aces. — Eva Moore

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